Acute abdominal pain is a common cause for presentation to the emergency room and hospital admission.
Many of these patients will undergo exploration for suspected appendicitis, but in 20% to 35% of cases a normal appendix is found.
Because of the limited access provided by the gridiron incision, a definitive diagnosis may not be found.
Other patients may be treated conservatively and discharged, only to return with recurrent pain or more definitive symptoms of pathology.
In patients with acute abdominal pain, early laparoscopy is an accurate means of both making a definitive diagnosis and avoiding a delay in the diagnosis.
| A definitive diagnosis was made in 90% of patients after diagnostic laparoscopy|
Dr Golash and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of 1320 consecutive patients with acute abdominal pain over a 62-month period.
All patients underwent diagnostic laparoscopy within 48 hours of admission.
The investigators evaluated the initial clinical diagnosis, the laparoscopic diagnosis, and the subsequent outcome in this group of patients.
Individuals with abdominal trauma were excluded from the study, and all patients were more than 12 years of age.
The investigative team made a definitive diagnosis in 90% of patients after diagnostic laparoscopy.
Laparoscopy changed the clinical diagnosis in 30% of cases.
The investigators found that 83% of patients underwent a laparoscopic operation for management of their condition at the time of diagnosis.
In 7% of patients, conversion to laparotomy was required to manage their condition.
The team noted that peritonitis was present in 180 patients; of which 110 had appendicitis.
The investigators observed that 12 patients developed complications related to the diagnostic laparoscopy or the laparoscopic operation.
There was one postoperative death due to a perforated gastric malignancy.
The team also noted that the mean operating time was 30 minutes.
Dr Golash's team concludes, “Early diagnostic laparoscopy and treatment results in the accurate, prompt, and efficient management of acute abdominal pain.”
“This technique reduces the rate of unnecessary laparotomy and right iliac fossa gridiron incisions and increases the diagnostic accuracy in these patients.”
“This treatment method is feasible where facilities are available to accommodate the workload and there are practitioners with the requisite expertise.”